Aonghais Cook



Research Ecologist, Wetland & Marine Research


I undertake research examining the causes of changes in the abundance of waterbirds and seabirds, and potential impacts of man-made developments on their populations


BSc Ecology Stirling University, 2000-2004.
MSc Ecology University of Wales, Bangor, 2004-2005.
PhD Landscape Use By Gulls, Newcastle University, 2005-2008.

Research Interests / Responsibilities

I work on a wide variety of short-term research projects, mainly focussing on the ecology of marine birds. Recent work has focussed on environmental impacts of renewable energy developments and developing monitoring strategies and indicators for seabirds and other marine species. I regularly provide scientific advice to government organisations, industry and others, and welcome opportunities for collaboration.

Selected Publications

  • Cook, A.S. C.P., Dadam, D., Mitchell, I., Ross-Smith, V.H., Robinson, R.A. 2014. Indicators of seabird reproductive performance demonstrate the impace of commercial fisheries on seabird populations in the North Sea.  Ecological indicators 38: 1-11.
  • Johnston, A., Cook, A.S.C.P., Wright, L.J., Humphreys, E.M. & Burton, N.H.K. 2014. Modelling flight heights of marine birds to more accurately assess collision risk with offshore wind turbines.  Journal of Applied Ecology 51: 31-41 Download.
  • Thaxter, C.B., Lascelles, B., Sugar, K., Cook, A.S.C.P., Roos, S., Bolton, M., Langston, R.H.W. & Burton, N.H.K. 2012. Seabird foraging ranges as a preliminary tool for identifying candidate Marine Protected Areas. Biological Conservation 156: 53-61.
  • Cook, A.S.C.P., Johnston, A., Wright, L.J. & Burton, N.H.K. 2012. A review of flight heights and avoidance rates of birds in relation to offshore wind farms. Strategic Ornithological Support Services Project SOSS-02. BTO Research Report No. 618. BTO, Thetford.
  • Kirby, M., Aldridge, J., Barrio Frojan, C., Cook, A., Fernand, L., Greenwood, N., Grellier, K., Law, R., Lewis, A., McKie, J., Milligan, S., Moore, J., Rees, J., Righton, D., Riley, A., Sapp, M. & Balaam, J. 2012. Deepwater dispersant use for subsea oil treatment in UK waters: critical issues in the regulatory decision making process. CEFAS report to the oil spill prevention and response advisory group. CEFAS, Lowestoft.
  • Wright, L.J., Ross-Smith, V.H., Austin, G.E., Massimino, D., Dadam, D., Cook, A.S.C.P., Calbrade, N.A. & Burton, N.K.H. 2012. Assessing the risk of offshore wind farm development to migratory birds designated as features of UK Special Protection Areas (and other Annex 1 species). BTO Research Report No. 592. BTO, Thetford
  • Cook, A.S.C.P., Parsons, M., Mitchell, I. & Robinson, R.A. 2011. Reconciling policy with ecological requirements in biodiversity monitoring. Marine Ecology Progress Series 434: 267-277
  • Thaxter, C.B., A. Johnston, A.S.C.P. Cook & N.H.K. Burton. 2011.  Review of statistical techniques to model the at-sea distributions of breeding terns.  BTO Research Report 582.
  • Cook, A.S.C.P., Ross-Smith, V.H., Roos, S., Burton, N.H.K., Beale, N., Coleman, C., Daniel, H., Fitzpatrick, S., Rankin, E., Norman, K. & Martin, G. 2011. Identifying a range of options to prevent or reduce avian collision with offshore wind farms, using a UK-based case study. BTO Research Report No. 580. BTO, Thetford.
  • Cook, A. S. C. P., Robinson, R. A. (2010) How representative is the current monitoring of breeding seabirds in the UK? BTO Research Report No. 573, Thetford
  • Cook, A.S.C.P. & Burton, N.H.K. 2010. A review of the potential impacts of marine aggregate extraction on seabirds. Marine Environment Protection Fund (MEPF) Project 09/P130. MALSF, Lowestoft.
  • Austin, G.E., Cook, A.S.C.P., Maclean, I.M.D., Mitchell, P.I., Rehfisch, M.M. & Wright, L.J. 2010. Healthy & Biologically Diverse Seas Evidence Group: Evaluation and gap analysis of current and potential indicators for Seabirds and Waterbirds. JNCC, Peterborough
  • Burton, N.H.K., Thaxter, C.B., Cook, A.S.C.P., Austin, G.E., Wright, L.J. & Clark, N.A. 2010. Evaluating the potential impacts of tidal power schemes on estuarine waterbirds. BOU Proceedings – Climate Change and Birds
  • Burton, N.H.K., Cook, A.S.C.P, Thaxter, C.B., Austin, G.E. & Clark, N.A. 2010. Severn Tidal Power - SEA Topic Paper: Waterbirds. BTO (PB/BV Consortium) Paper to DECC.
  • Cook, A., Rushton, S., Allan, J. & Baxter, A. 2008. An evaluation of techniques to control problem bird species on landfill sites. Environmental Management 41: 834-843.

Contact details

Email: aonghais.cook [at]
Telephone: 01842 750050
Fax: 01842 750030
Postal address: British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Thetford, IP24 2PU, UK.